Stucco is a siding option made of manufactured materials that is quite popular, particularly on Southwest or European-style homes. However, it’s a very versatile material that can be extremely customized, and therefore works on virtually any home style. In fact, stucco is installed on over 20% of homes in the US. The composition of stucco is very similar to that of concrete, so it's a very durable material that requires little maintenance.
As a homeowner, you have a wide variety of siding materials to pick from. While it’s great to have lots of options, it’s not always easy to pick the right one for your project. It’s important to make an informed decision by doing some research before starting your project. We compiled this comprehensive guide to stucco siding to help you thoroughly understand your options.
What is Stucco Siding?
While you’ve likely heard of or seen stucco siding, not many people know what it’s actually composed of. It’s a very solid material, made of Portland cement, lime, water, and sand. Some newer versions also include acrylic or glass fibers to improve flexibility and strength.
Stucco is applied in multiple steps, which typically results in higher installation costs than siding materials such as vinyl or fiber cement. The first coat of stucco is applied over a mesh net that is nailed or stapled to the side of the house. This net gives the stucco something to grip to and also works to prevent cracking. This first coat is referred to as a “scratch coat”. After this coat dries, which can take a couple of days, the second coat, or “brown layer” is applied. This coat must also dry before the last coat can be applied, which can take up to a week or two. The finish coat is then applied to complete the process.
Stucco siding is highly customizable, so it’s a great option for homeowners who are looking to achieve a specific style. Custom coloring can be added to the finish coat, meaning virtually any color siding can be achieved. Stucco can also be painted with a latex paint, but this option requires more upkeep. Additionally, a variety of textures can be carved into this final layer. Some of the most popular stucco textures are:
Sand: This is a rough texture, with an appearance similar to a popcorn finish. It is created using a trowel with a sponge attached.
Lace: This is a common and traditional option in which stucco is sprayed onto the side of a house and then smoothed out with a trowel. The final product is a generally smooth surface with deep rivets.
Smooth: This option is created by smoothing over the final layer with a trowel, create a sleek and smooth appearance. This is a good option for modern-style homes.
Custom art: Some homeowners looking for a stylistic design choose to have custom artwork carved into or added onto their stucco. While this option isn’t for everyone, it demonstrated the level to which stucco can be customized.
Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS)
This is a newer form of stucco installation, in which foam or fiber-cement panels covered in an acrylic styrofoam-based stucco coating. This coating is typically sprayed onto the panels. This version is harder to crack, and typically offers better insulation. However, it is also more expensive and, if installed improperly, can lead to moisture build up and subsequent rotting.
Pros and ConsPros
- Extremely durable and resistant to rotting, weather damage, debris, and pests
- Long lasting
- Can last between 50 to 80 years
- Highly customizable in texture and color
- Fire resistant
- Good insulation value
- Noise dampening
- More expensive than synthetic siding such as vinyl or fiber cement
- Can crack with weather changes or earthquakes
- Susceptible to moisture damage in very rainy or snowy climates
- Must be installed by a professional as improper installation can lead to serious cracking
The price of stucco siding varies by region, installation style, and customizations, but the typical price range, including installation, is between $700 and $1,100 per 100 sq ft.
Stucco is a quality siding option that can work on a number of homes, but the final decision for which material is right for your project comes down to personal preference. Stucco is durable and long lasting, but also has a very particular visual aesthetic that differs greatly from options such as brick or vinyl shingles. However, if the appearance of stucco appeals to you and also fits your budget, then it might be the perfect material for your siding replacement project.
Find out if stucco siding is right for your house - speak to our expert at 888.392.4236 or visit HireHaven.com.